Reuters / Caracas
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said that he is aiming to begin a dialogue with the country’s political opposition next month in Mexico, facilitated by Norway, a process he hoped the United States would embrace.
In May the opposition changed strategy and indicated its willingness to return to negotiations to resolve the crisis in Venezuela.
Maduro has overseen an economic collapse in once-prosperous Venezuela since taking office in 2013, and stands accused by his domestic opponents, the United States and the European Union of corruption, human rights violations and rigging his 2018 re-election.
In June, top diplomats in Washington, Brussels and Ottowa said they would be willing to revise their sanctions on Maduro’s government if the dialogue with the opposition led to significant progress toward free and fair elections.
“I can tell you that we are ready to go to Mexico,” Maduro said in an interview on the state-funded Telesur television network. “We have begun to discuss a complicated, difficult agenda.”
Venezuela’s opposition, led by Juan Guaido, has accused Maduro of using previous rounds to buy time in the face of diplomatic and sanctions pressure by the United States and others.
Guaido is recognised by Washington and several other Western democracies as the country’s rightful leader.
Opposition groups have said they are willing to negotiate the conditions for presidential and parliamentary elections with Maduro’s government.
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